Monday, December 9, 2019

Post #149 - A Gift from the Great White North

There is a member of the Trading Card Database that many are familiar with. A Canadian, and a quirky fellow, he constantly lights up forum posts and hockey sets with his knowledge, wisdom, and humor. He goes by the username "ranfordfan", a homage to the legendary Oilers goalie Bill Ranford, who I assume was his favorite player. His actual name is Darrell, and I recently gave him a hand on acquiring a Ranford card.

You see, some eBay sellers like to charge crazy amounts to ship to Canada. I understand that you can't take a loss on shipping, and it can be more expensive to ship north of the border. But when we're talking $15.00 for a single card, as compared to $3.00 in the U.S., I'm happy to step in and place a bid, then send the card to a new home in the land of moose and maple syrup.

I truly expected nothing in return. Darrell's hobby contributions on the Database have been astronomical, so an opportunity to Pay It Forward when I don't have anything else that I could pass along to him doesn't come often. But lo and behold, it wasn't a couple of weeks before I had a neat little envelope from Canada sitting on my desk at home. Inside the envelope was a toploader - and all I saw was this:

"Oh neat," I thought, "Darrell had some baseball cards laying around, knew I was a Reds fan, and packaged this one up for me! And I"m pretty sure I don't have a 2018 Stephens card yet."

But actually, I was wrong. This was more than just a Topps flagship card, and if you looked at the number above, you might have noticed this. I didn't until I flipped it over.

Hello gorgeous! A beautiful 2018 Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph of Jackson Stephens, a young and exciting (for me) arm out of the Reds bullpen...until he was released following the 2019 season. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful addition to my collection. The question is...where?

You may be familiar with how my collection works at this point. Yes, I'm a Reds fan and want all of the Reds cards that I can get my hands on. However, I am also a sucker for ink on cardboard, and have an entire binder dedicated to that facet of the hobby. In person, through the mail, pack-pulled, it doesn't matter. And so, that's where this one resides - in the Green Autograph Binder.

Darrell, thank you for your generous gift. You didn't need to do anything at all, as it was my honor from the get-go to help someone with such an amazing collection add to it, even as a third party. 

Just a quick post tonight, as I still continue to struggle to find time for blogging. Unfortunately, that has meant no "Season of Giving" this year either, which breaks my heart to miss. Hopefully I'll be back next year with one that is bigger and better than ever. Until next time, however, enjoy the rest of your evening, and thank you for reading.


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Post #148 - Names Can Be Deceiving

We've all heard the phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover", essentially reminding others to get to know someone before passing judgement. A great example is my recent trading partner from the Trading Card Database, wackydog, aka John. Despite his username, John is anything but wacky. Granted, I knew this from some forum threads on the Database, where he is often recognized for "Paying It Forward" with extra cards and just being an all-around great guy.

Recently, John reached out about a Topps Heritage card from 2008 that I had, and I took some time to put together a deal that allowed me to send nearly 20 cards his way in exchange for eight cards that I needed. In case anyone reading didn't know, I'd rather send out more than I bring in, as long as I get cards that I want. Let's see those eight today, shall we?

John didn't have a ton that I needed for my player collections, but I was able to snag this Shawn Green and knock if off my wantlist:

2001 Topps Opening Day #8

I used to use captions like that one a lot. I want to get back to doing that.

The other player collection card is an odd one:

2016 Topps NNO "Topps Bunt Promo"
Buster Posey makes a little cameo off to the right side. Good enough for me to include in my Posey collection, even if he isn't front and center.

The rest of the cards, I tried to fill in some Reds that I knew I didn't have. Luckily, poaching John's tradelist wasn't difficult at all in that respect.

2013 Topps - Silver Slate Blue Sparkle Wrapper Redemption #161
I know next to nothing about this card except that it's another one of the gazillion 2013 Topps parallels, and is apparently some sort of wrapper redemption. Love the look of Arroyo in the throwback uniform - and it's possibly my favorite card of the bunch.

2018 Bowman #96
I'm quite sure I've mentioned many times how difficult coming across Bowman is around me. Meijer doesn't seem to carry it, only Platinum (overpriced). So even a simple base card like this is a necessity for me, and I'll grab one any chance I can.

2019 Topps "150th Anniversary" #558
I think I bought one blaster of flagship this year, and maybe two blister packs. It's the same reason I haven't been here as much - a lot of my collecting focus has shifted to organizing my collection into a somewhat workable system, so that I can start trading in bulk and offload some unused inventory. As such, I'm still searching for a majority of the Reds cards from this year, plus the related parallels.

1991 Classic Best #41
I'm a sucker for anything Minor League baseball, and that goes doubly so for any Reds minor league cards. One of these days when I get my binders in order, Reds Minor League cards will have their own separate one, so they can be appreciated in all of their glory. Until then, however, this Sanders sits in a box with his Big League brethren.

1991 Topps Archives 1953 #28
 I love this set, as it's chock full of history, so when I saw that John had a couple of Reds on his tradelist, I added them to the transaction hoping he'd be willing to part with them, and he was. Eddie Pellagrini isn't a household name in the major league realm, but after completing his playing career, Eddie became the head coach at Boston College in 1958 - a position he held until 1990! He missed on season due to illness (1969), but still; 31 years at a D1 baseball program is absolutely incredible.

1991 Topps Archives 1953 #95
 Here's the second one. Again, not a household name, I can't imagine (I wasn't familiar with Mr. Marshall until I Googled him while writing this), but he had a solid career of 11 seasons, making three All-Star games and slugging 130 home runs.

Thanks, John, for this awesome and quick trade. Hopefully the cards I sent you get you a little closer to finishing off some Topps Heritage and Phillies team sets. If you're on the TCDB and looking for a trading partner, I'm willing to bet wackydog has some cards you can use, so get ahold of him!

I'm off to go work a fundraiser for our American Legion baseball team - a Sunday spent running a poker game so we can continue to offer our kids free baseball, and even a scholarship at the end of the year. A labor of love, for certain. Everyone enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and as always, thanks for reading!


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Post #147 - Anotha One

At the end of my last post, I hinted at another "high-end" pickup that I was working on. Truth is, I actually bid on a couple of these cards on eBay when I had the coupon, figuring I'd only win one of them. Turns out, I won two. With only one discount, I used it for the Posey shown last time (it was won first). A few days later, I got a notification letting me know I won this card:

Just my second autograph of my favorite player of all-time, this is one of the nicer cards I've ever added to my collection. If you can't read the serial number, it's 47/99 - not at all the rarest of the rare, but a very nice addition if I do say so myself.

A look at the back if you're into that sort of thing, showing that this indeed comes from 2019 Topps Museum Collection. There's one thing about this card that really perplexes me, however.

Why the Mets? I mean, Green's time at Shea Stadium wasn't exactly memorable (he played 164 games over the course of a season and a half, and while he hit .284, he only clubbed 14 home runs and drove in just 64 runs). Perhaps all of those early 2000s Donruss game-used memorabilia parallels used up the world's supply of Shawn Green Dodger jerseys, I don't know. No complaints, I just find it odd.

Regardless, I'm thrilled to stick this one with the rest of my Shawn Green cards and add another shining jewel to my collection. I have a love/hate relationship with Museum Collection (and other sets on the "higher end" of the budget) but I can't say that I'll turn away from something like this when the opportunity arises!

Everyone enjoy the first Sunday of NFL football of 2019, and as always, thanks for reading!


Monday, August 26, 2019

Post #146 - Crown Jewel

In my Buster Posey player collection, I have some nice cards. Yeah, that might sound a little conceited, but I think we're all proud of our collections. I even detailed my nine favorite Posey cards at the time in a post a little while back.

I've made some additions since then, including a couple of relic cards. But my most recent score arrived in the mailbox today and it is officially my new favorite.

2011 Topps Triple Threads "Relic Combos-Sepia" of Posey, Fisk, and Posada. Numbered to 27 copies, I have #6.

The Triple Threads thing is not a new thing to collectors, and I'm willing to bet that some will say I overpaid. But allow me to explain.

A forum thread on the Trading Card Database mentioned a $2 off coupon for select eBay users, so I decided to check it out. I didn't have the $2 coupon though - I actually had $5 off a purchase of $10 or more. So, when I saw I was able to swoop in and grab this for a BIN of $15.00 ($10.00 after coupon), I hit "purchase" pretty fast.

I don't have cards like this in my collection. Boxes of Triple Threads are way out of my price range. Growing up, with hobby shops few and far between (when they managed to stay open), I didn't have exposure to these products. And this is by far my lowest numbered Posey card yet.

I'm not crazy about the Sepia tone (it seems too lackluster to me on what is otherwise a beautiful card), but I always liked Posada growing up, and Fisk was a catcher I tried to model my own game after on the field. Put those two on a relic card with Posey, and I'm there!

One thing that I noted, however, is the size of the relic area. It seems very, very small, and maybe that's because I've never seen one of these in person before. And I don't really mind - it is what it is, and if I wanted to split this card in half, I bet I would find a three full size swatches.

All I know right now is that I have a new favorite card in my collection. This also brings a worry along with it, however...a self-professed "common card" collector, I think I may have been bitten by the "high-end" bug, as I lost out on an auction last night, and am currently winning one for another triple relic that I hope to show off soon!

Thanks for reading my short, quick, and awfully proud post. Have a great rest of your night!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Post #145 - Don't Close Your Eyes

This title really has nothing to do with the content of the post tonight. I'm simply listening to a wonderful cover of Keith Whitley's classic "Don't Close Your Eyes", sung by a gentleman by the name of Dylan Scott. While I'm a self-professed "old school" country guy, I love Scott's vocals. Take a listen yourself, if you'd like:

So, if you're not sick of Matt Mantei cards yet, keep reading. While I have many collecting interests, 98% of my baseball card time lately has been dedicated to organizing and inventory. However, I've also pushed headlong into the quest to obtain every Matt Mantei card (including printing plates!) and took advantage of the recent COMC Summer Sale to pick up a few more of the lower-numbered and rarer cards of his at discounted prices.

Well, they weren't all rare. But this 1993 Fleer/ProCards of a young Mantei with the Bellingham Mariners is a nice addition, and my earliest card of him to date.

I also snagged the 1994 edition from the same set. This card is number 1051 in a set of 4319. They don't make 'em like that anymore!

Why this parallel of 1999 Pacific is called "Platinum Blue" is a mystery that I will likely go to the grave without having solved. Regardless, it's the first of three 1999 Pacific cards needed for the collection.

The 2000 Pacific Paramount parallels is really where I did some damage. I knocked out this Holographic Gold numbered to 199...

...the Holographic Green numbered to 99...

...the Holographic Silver, also numbered to 99...

...and the Premiere Date, numbered to 50! Very redundant, I know, but they actually look pretty sharp in pages together. I'm simply missing the Gold and Platinum Blue to have the full rainbow for this one!

I also added the 2000 Upper Deck Exclusives Silver parallel number to 100. Tracking down the Exclusives Gold, however, could prove difficult - it's a 1/1.

I'm also one card short of the 2000 Upper Deck MVP "rainbow", as I'm just missing the Superscript parallel numbered out of 25. But I was thrilled to pick up the Gold Signature version seen here.

In addition, I added the final parallel needed for the 2001 Topps flagship run! I miss when the Topps flagship "Gold" cards were actually, ya know, gold. With a real serial number on the back, not some digitized crap.

Finally, we wrap up with my favorite card of the bunch, an uncirculated XFractor from 2003 Topps Chrome. Numbered out of just 57, I thought for sure I'd have a much harder time finding this sucker, so I couldn't click "Add to Cart" fast enough when I saw it!

So that's how my COMC Summer Sale went! If you've made it this far, I assume that Mr. Mantei, despite having his career be over for over 10 years now, may have made a few new fans. I appreciate you all reading along, despite my on-and-off blogging presence. It's something I still enjoy doing when the opportunity arises, but I wouldn't have the desire if there weren't readers like YOU at least absorbing my content - it's up to to you to decide if you enjoy it!

Have a great evening.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Post #144 - Surprise!

Sometime a week ago or so, I apparently placed a COMC order for myself after payday. I remember doing this. I remember picking out several Matt Mantei cards that I needed, and placing the order.  Then, I promptly forgot about it.

A few days ago, I got an email letting me know my order had shipped, and a light bulb went off! I had cards coming my way! Cards I needed and wanted! Awesome!

Then I forgot. Again.

When I walked in the door the other day, a little later than usual because I finally got to the post office and mailed some packages off, there was a bubble mailer sitting there for me. I had cards! Cards I needed and wanted! Awesome!

And as I opened it, I realized I had no idea what was inside. I vaguely remembered a seriel numbered Mantei. But the rest have been a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. Let's see, shall we?

The last 1996 Matt Mantei card I needed. I now have all three from that year. Yeah, that's a tiny, insignificant milestone, but it does feel good to cross an entire year off of the list!

The '90s were weird, man. You would think a relief pitcher's only cardboard appearance in a year would be buried in the 600s of that year's Upper Deck set. But nope, Matt's sole 1997 card is this Pacific Prism "Gems of the Diamond" insert. Wild. Wacky. Mine.

Thanks to parallels, I've been trying to track down four total 1999 Fleer Tradition cards. I already had the base, and now the Warning Track parallel gets me another step closer. Still need the "Starting 9" and "Millennium" parallels, with the latter only have 5000 copies produced.
I actually have a decent chunk of the 1999 Upper Deck Victory set, so I'm surprised it took me so long to add this one to the hoard.

I already had the Glossy version of the 2000 Fleer Tradition card, and now I have the base. Like it's Glossy counterpart, this one seems to have some serious curling going on, hence the dark left edge of the scan. Hopefully some time in a binder will flatten it out gently.

Pacific Paramount parallels! The Copper (top) and Green (bottom) now give me four total cards from that rainbow, as they fit nicely along with the base and the Ruby.

Still a fan of Chrome. Doubt that will change. Blurry scan though - I don't think the new scanner bed liked this Chrome very much.
Quite possibly my favorite from the entire package - 2001 Keebler Arizona Diamondbacks! I don't know if these were a food item or a stadium giveaway or what; I just know I'm stoked to add this to my collection!
This 2001 Topps Home Team Advantage parallel leaves me just the Gold parallel away from having all five versions of the 2001 Topps cards (base, Employee Edition, Gold, HTA, and Limited).
A 2002 Fleer - Tiffany parallel that's numbered out of 200. I like the back better than the front here...
...because he was an All-Stater at my high school! To a lot of people, something like this isn't a big deal, but see your high school on the back of a baseball card is pretty cool when your town is 1800 strong (heck, I graduated with a class of 40).

The surface wear and scratches on this 2003 Topps Chrome are likely why it was marked down so cheap. I'll probably upgrade this one someday, but for now I'm happy to have it stashed in my binder.

Insert joke here about not being able to afford 2019 Topps Total so I bought 2003 Topps Total instead.
I was able to add the base version of the Upper Deck 40-Man set from that year too. I miss massive sets like these.
As a side note, I always like the Diamondbacks copper/purple/teal/black color scheme the best out of all of them. It just reminds me of being a little kid, and the whole "rattlesnake" concept was really cool to a little guy growing up in Michigan.
2004 Topps Chrome that scanned a little crooked. I actually have quite the run of Topps and Chrome cards from 2004 and I'm hoping to nail down that rainbow soon.
And we wrap up the Mantei portion of the package with the 2004 Upper Deck base card, on which the foil did not scan well.

Now, you'll note that I said the Mantei portion, because I forgot that I threw one other card on my order:

I'm still one Ralf Mojsiejenko card away from completing his run, so I habitually check COMC for 1990 Pro Set FACT cards. While doing so, I stumbled across this buyback from the 2019 Score set, and I couldn't hit "Add to Card" quick enough. I don't seek these out intentionally, but when one falls into your lap like this, I'll take it!

Well that wraps up this first post in a long time. I'll see if I can't get another one up soon (baseball season is winding down, so I should have some downtime). In the meantime, thanks for reading, and have a great evening!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Post #143 - Hoodwinked or Pleased?

The sporadic posts (can they even be considered sporadic at this point?) continue, as we re-visit an eBay purchase from a few months back.

I think at this point all readers are familiar with my Shawn Green collection. As I continue to try and grow it, I find myself searching for new and unique collectibles on top of my card search. I have several items on my Amazon wishlist that fit the "collectible-but-not-a-trading-card" category.

One of my saved eBay searches is "Shawn Green Printing Plate". I never want to miss an opportunity to bid on one if it were to come up, and until recently one never had.

Then I got the notification.

I'll spare the dramatics and just come right out and say that there was a 2001 Pacific Back Printing Plate available. I let it sit for a period of time, while I did some research, and quite frankly I don't think it's legitimate.

Here, take a look:

Very thin metal. The scan is slightly crooked, the "plate" is not. And there's just too much color for me to comfortably call this legitimate. Throw in the fact that everything I've read online indicates that Pacific never issued 2001 Printing Plates in packs, and I'm quite sure this isn't real.

That being said, I bought it using a bit of reserve cash and a nice coupon, so the price out of pocket is what I would consider fair for a very unique Shawn Green item for my collection. This "plate" will find a niche in the appropriate binder along with other Shawn Green mis-cuts and oddball items.

The seller also threw in two bonus cards as well, something I suspect was done because they knew this plate wasn't legitimate.

These are both from the 2004 Upper Deck National Trading Card Day multi-sport set. The Griffey is a beautiful add to my Reds collection, but the Sosa would be available if anyone wanted to claim it. Otherwise, I'll file it away until I finally get organized and really open up trading - by the end of 2019, if I'm lucky!

Ultimately, authentic plate or not, I'm pleased with the outcome of this purchase, and it's always nice to add a unique piece to my personal collection. If you've stuck around this long, thanks for reading - with a little luck, I'll get caught up on the two packages from Remember the Astrodome I still need to blog about soon...

Until next time, take care!